Hi everyone, it's Medved, today I'm going to elaborate on some basic stuff regarding Russian for those who are just about to start learning it or at the very beginning of the process. I am a Russian and I have some experience in Language exchange (do not mix it up with teaching, I'm not a pro teacher) so I used to explain a lot of stuff about Russian to foreigners.
So as I said we're going to work on a simplest phrase in Russian, but "Hello world" (you know this is the traditional name of the very first program when someone gets the hang of a new programming language), so hello world doesn't fit right because it's WAY TOO simple and you can't learn anything from "Здравствуй, мир!" so I'll go for another phrase (I thought it up myself).
The phrase is: Стой на месте, не ходи туда, там опасно.
The translation is: Stay where you are, don't go there, it's dangerous there.
As you can see I separated the clauses with commas and you can compare the items separately.
Well, let's start off with some phonetic stuff. The very first thing I would like to say about it is that the Russians shape their tongue in a different way than the English speaking people do. The difference in articulation is a feature that is hard to understand at first, but nonetheless, it's an important thing and I'll try to elaborate on that in regard to the phrase.
Here's the soundfile: https://soundcloud.com/fox-29/stay/s-1T5OY
It's me saying this phrase. I'm not using any special intonation patterns, the voice is a bit robotic, although there are several ways to say it in order to convey different feelings, like anger, uncertainty, fright or whatever, just like in English.
Now here are some words about key features. The first one is that my tongue throughout the whole phrase LIES DOWN the tip touching the insides of the LOWER FRONT TEETH. It might sound strange but it is. The sound comes mainly from the point inbetween the roof of the mouth (right near the alveolar ridge, which feels like a hard bump right behind your upper front teeth) and the front part of the tongue bent upwards toward it. Sometimes they touch each other to make plosive sounds, sometimes they form a small chink to produce fricative sounds. I call it the lower position. There is also the upper position when the tip touches the ridge right behind the top teeth. But I don't use any of those sounds in this phrase. Practice it a bit after the mp3 file.
Listen to the file and compare it with what you know about the sounds of Russian.
Here's how it sounds: Стойнаместе, нихадитуда, тамапасна
I underlined the soft consonants and marked in bold the stressed vowels. Analyse how the stress affects the pitch. It sort of slides up towards the stressed vowel and then slides down. Not jumps, which is important, but gradually but rapidly slides. Imagine a roof, it goes up and then down, right?
Now as you can hear, the prepositions are connected to the words near them, we do it a lot just like you do in your mother tongue, I even did it in this tiny simple sample phrase, let alone we do it in common speech. Simple sample, hehe, I am a poet, aren't I? Okay, anyway, let's move on. A connected preposition never gets a stress, they are reduced and toned down compared to the syllables that the stress falls on. Well, except the cases when you want to emphasize the preposition, like you want to go UNDER the bed, not ON the bed. Russian works the same way. Otherwise prepositions are slurred and reduced.
Ok I'll have some rest and then move on to the grammar.
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